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On The Road: Game Day In Newark

by Ryan Boulding / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche is on a the road again, this time for a four-game road trip. is blogging about the team's events during the time away from the Mile High City.

10:30 a.m. ET

Facing the third back-to-back set of games of the season, the Colorado Avalanche opted not to have a morning skate at Prudential Center in rainy New Jersey. A handful of players, including netminder Semyon Varlamov and forward Alex Tanguay did head to the arena to skate. The rest stayed back at the hotel.

After a mellow breakfast in the lobby, the players and coaches gathered for morning meetings in a conference room. After the session concluded, they ventured across the hallway to meet team trainer Casey Bond for the morning's workout.

Most players do a slow warmup and soothe and smooth their muscles with foam rollers and recovery devices. Others stretch and contort to loosen any tightness from the night before.

As is a common pregame ritual, players like Reto Berra, Cody McLeod , Mikhail Grigorenko , Gabriel Landeskog , Andreas Martinsen , Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Barrie come together for a game of two-touch with a soccer ball. They kick and compete and joke until there is only one man left standing. Then they start over.

Once the session concludes, everyone will head to the team meal before heading off for their various game-day rituals and routines.

Estimated arrival time at the rink in Newark is 5 p.m.

Read more from the hotel here.

7:08 p.m. ET

The puck is down at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Tuesday's opening line consists of center Nathan MacKinnon with Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene to his left and right, respectively.

The 'Nines Line' has been hot as of late, and despite being held pointless in Brooklyn against the New York Islanders, they're still a good bet to get offense going against the Devils.

The team arrived at The Rock on two separate buses, the second of which pulled up to the rink a little before 5 p.m. From there, it was the usual pregame prep. Players began readying their sticks and also stretched and jogged and did plyometrics and the like prior to the 6:29 p.m. on-ice warmup.

The Avs, like most hockey players, are creatures of habit when it comes to dressing and skating in the pregame session. There are routines and patterns to be followed. One of which is puck juggling. Defenseman Tyson Barrie starts by bouncing the biscuit on his stuck over and over, the way a soccer player would keep a ball from touching the ground. Eventually he hands it over to Nathan MacKinnon with a lofty flip through the air to the young centerman.

This all happens right in front of the Avalanche bench at both home and road games.

The players filter off the ice at various times toward the end of the warmup. Duchene is always the last one out, giving one last break toward the net and a hard shot. He follows that up by zipping around the net and letting off a backhander as he flies by the mouth of the goal.

After that, it's last minute details and then game time.

10:30 p.m. ET

That's it for the Avs at Prudential Center. The club got a solid 2-1 win on the strength of goals from Matt Duchene and Tyson Barrie, the latter of which ripped one heck of a nice shot off the far post and into the Devils net for the eventual game-winning tally.

Netminder Reto Berra was absolutely locked in throughout the match, allowing just one flukey shot to beat him. The play came off of a faceoff, and the shot was deflected by the stick of Jarome Iginla before ricocheting off of Nate Guenin's leg and into the twine. Hard to blame the Swiss keeper for that one.

He made a couple of big saves in the win, including at the end of the second period when there was a high-quality scoring chance directly in front of the net that he had to come over to stop. It was excellent and didn't seem to phase him at all.

"He played well," head coach Patrick Roy said before talking about some competition in the Colorado crease. "I love it. That's what we need. This is how we're going to have a chance to get back into the playoff race. We need solid goaltending. We're aware of that, but we still have a lot of confidence in Varly. I'm confident he'll bounce back."

Duchene's goal came on a laser of a shot that hammered Cory Schneider's glove. The velocity of the rip carried the puck up and out of the basket, into the air and then down into the goal. The 24-year-old seems absolutely unstoppable right now and continues to play well.

"It bit. It kind of stuck. It didn't roll like it looked like it was going to," Duchene said of Erik Johnson's pass on the play. "It just caught the edge. The way it landed, it just stuck right there, right for me. It looked like it was just going to be a nothing play and bounce to him, but good little bounce. It just came right to me. I was able to get a shot off that fortunately beat him."

After the game and the requisite media availabilities and interviews and such, everyone heads off for a postgame meal at the rink before loading up on the buses to head back to Manhattan. The Avalanche will have an off day in New York City before facing the Rangers on Thursday. There is obviously much to do in the city, and Wednesday promises to be full of excitement as the annual christmas tree lighting will take place at Rockefeller Center.

Read more about Colorado's win in New Jersey here.




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